As a baseball-obsessed kid growing up in the ’80s and ’90s, Tony Gwynn represented steadiness. You knew you were watching the best, a genius hitter. I grew up in Brooklyn, so my life was all Yanks and Mets, but I watched Gwynn every chance I got and searched for his name daily in the box scores. I loved him and I always prayed for his card when I bought a pack of Topps or Donruss. You could see that it wasn’t just that he was great at the game — he was always studying, always working, always getting better. He hit .444 with the bases loaded in his career. He had a lifetime .415 average against Greg Maddux, and Maddux never struck him out. Goddamn. It was more than that though. You could just tell that he was a beautiful guy, a nice guy, a fan first. The Olbermann piece below confirms that — it had me in tears. RIP Tony Gwynn.
“What you hoped Tony Gwynn was like, he was like.” Keith Olbermann remembers Tony Gwynn:
Another good piece:
“He played joyful baseball that transcended time and space. It seemed uncomplicated: he always hit, he always smiled, he never had a bad season. When baseball disappointed him by blocking his run at .400 in 1994—he was hitting .394 when the player’s strike began in August—Gwynn simply came back the next year and hit .368. He would have hit in the 1950s and he would have hit in the 1930s; he would have hit under water or on the moon. There was something automatic about a Tony Gwynn line drive. He was so consistently good that you almost forgot to appreciate it.” –Eric Nusbaum in Vice Sports